Jungle vine, called Piet in Lao, is the Khmu’s favorite material. It is an eco-friendly crop that is encouraged to grow between other crops such as coffee and rubber. In Laos it is called a NTFP (non timber forest product) and has been identified as a crop of special importance. The string is made by scraping the bark of the vine, drying it and twisting the lengths together. Working with piet is time consuming because the fiber is very short and needs to be hand twisted.
Khmu villagers crochet piet into bags and beautiful belts to be attached to bamboo baskets. They are used to haul wood and gather crops and herbs. The Khmu multitask! You’ll see them knitting jungle vine while walking to their rice farms in Oudomxay Province.
We have adapted this traditional material to create updated handicraft products, such as zippered pouches and handbags for contemporary lifestyle. Even though it is pretty and delicate, jungle vine is invincible. All our piet bags are Village Weavers Project collaborations with Khmu artisans who are seasoned experts at turning jungle vine into beautiful and functional items.
Watch this video to learn more about jungle vine and how it is transformed into bags.
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